Femme in (online) Public (sphere): How digital pushed the cause

Remember my fifth post when I spoke about… well maybe first go and READ it if you haven’t yet (sneaky, bounce rate button pushers. I see you). ALSO, that post is a sensitive one, so maybe jump to the last paragraph.

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Well for those of you who are well-versed in the content of my blog, I touched on how sharing, retweeting and subscribing to various social media outlets could/would help a cause, because, you know, the online public sphere, and stuff. Here’s proof.

A movement for gender non-conforming individuals came together from different parts of the world – congregating in Cape Town, South Africa. The fashion collaboration kick-started conversations around genders (specifically) that weren’t the stipulated hegemonic male and female genders. The movement saw eight members of the LGBTQIA+ community come together to challenge heteronormative ideologies.

But how was it as successful as it was? Well, that’s thanks to online echo chambers. Utilising Facebook as its main platform for pushing the content got it coverage. Because it wasn’t a movement with hundreds of thousands of real life people in that space, at that time, didn’t mean it didn’t have to be.

The movement is now timeless (well, as timeless as Facebook’s lifespan), and attracted audiences from around the world. Organisations like Out Magazine , Okay Africa, MasqMag and MambaOnline – as well as the New York performance artist who conceived the project, Alok Vaid-Menon accumulated over 300 shares since its conception. This number could be more due to sharing within sharing. At face value, that’s a good tally of numbers.

Image result for femme in publicAlok Vaid-Menon poses for series of photos that accompany the movement (Pic: sourced by OutMag)

With a generation fixated on wokeness, disruption, and challenging all heteronormative practices, Femme in Public came at the right time. The subject matter, the (literal and figurative) style of protest, as well as the utilisation of social media aided the movement in more ways that would have been in a traditional protest.

If you don’t know any of the words in this last paragraph, go search them on my best friend, Urban Dictionary

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